Opera vs. Chrome: How These Web Browsers Stack Up

Time to compare their biggest features

Screenshot of an internet browser's address window

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There are a lot of web browsers vying for the attention of internet surfers, so how do you know which one's right for you? To start, let's narrow it down to Opera vs Chrome. Here, we compare the two of them, so you can decide if one is worth a download.

What is Opera?

The Opera web browser is built on Google's Chromium engine, so it shares some DNA with its competitor. It began as a research project at Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor in 1994. A year later, its creators founded their own company with the belief that everyone should be able to browse the web on any device. Its products include Opera for Windows, macOS, and Linux; Opera for Android, Opera Mini for Android and iOS, Opera Touch, and Opera News.

These days, Opera markets itself as an alternative to Google Chrome. People who want to make the switch can automatically import their data and take advantage of some of Opera's more unique features.

What We Like

  • Built-in ad blocker

  • Can pop-out any video in a separate window and watch it while browsing the web

  • Includes a free, unlimited VPN (sort of), providing an extra layer of security on public WiFi networks

  • Battery saving mode promises up to an extra hour of run time compared to Chrome

  • Compatible with many Chrome extensions

  • Turbo feature makes web pages run faster by compressing data

What We Don't Like

  • The VPN feature isn't a real VPN, has terrible network performance, and is worse than most other free VPNs available

What is Google Chrome?

Chrome is the go-to web browser for the majority of internet users. As of April 2019, it has nearly 70% of desktop browser market share worldwide, according to Statcounter. This places it far above competitors like Opera, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple's Safari. It's the default browser for Android and the backbone of the operating system on Chromebooks, which helps explain why it's so popular.

What We Like

  • It's user-friendly

  • As a flagship Google product, it receives continuous support

  • Comes pre-installed on all Android devices and Chromebooks

  • Highly customizable, with extensions and themes via the Chrome Web Store

  • Compatible with the rest of the Google ecosystem (Gmail, Drive, etc.)

What We Don't Like

  • Features like an ad blocker or VPN require third-party installations

  • It's a systems resource hog

Chrome vs. Opera Feature Comparison

Both Chrome and Opera have basic features like tabbed browsing, a password manager, synced browsing data, and an incognito mode. However, there are some differences. Here's a quick breakdown of their biggest features:

Google Chrome vs. Opera Comparison
  Chrome Opera
Tabbed browsing Yes Yes
Private browsing Yes Yes
Password Manager Yes Yes
Data syncing across devices Yes Yes
Built-in ad blocker No Yes
Free VPN No Yes
Battery saving mode No Yes
Video pop-out window No Yes
Extensions and themes Yes Yes
Tab pinning Yes Yes

Should You Use Chrome or Opera?

Chrome is still a fine choice for most people; not only is it the default browser on Google devices, it's user-friendly and highly customizable via the thousands of Chrome extensions and themes found on the Chrome store. Chrome is especially a good choice if you're a fan of the Google ecosystem of apps (Gmail, Drive, etc.). You can create a Google account for free and have all of your information sync across all of your devices.

However, if you have an older, slower computer, or a sluggish internet connection, you might want to give Opera a try instead. It's less taxing on your device's memory than Chrome, and its turbo feature can speed up web browsing by compressing data found on sites. It's also a good choice for laptop users looking to save a bit of battery life.